Arts Umbrella Dance Company - An Excercise in ExcellenceTuesday, April 17, 2018
On Sunday my Rosemary and I went to the Roundhouse Community Centre for a varied performance of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company. This local institution has been having these performances, always on Sunday (Sunday Performance Series) where one is able to see works in progress.
These performances may be not as well known as they should. When you have the likes of James Kudelka (my opinion is that he is the best Canadian choreographer) or Aszure Barton and Crystal Pite testing their works with the dancers of Arts Umbrella you know that something here is out of the ordinary.
February's Sunday Series with Noam Gagnon
February's Sunday Series with Noam Gagnon
One of the reasons is that the Arts Umbrella Dance Company’s goal is not to get your kids out of the streets. Their goal (perhaps mission would be a more appropriate and fanatical word) is to graduate dancers. Routinely their graduates go to such places as the Netherland Dance Theatre (perhaps the best dance company in the world) and others in Europe and New York.
For $10 dollars I saw a show that would run way over $100 in bigger cities with a higher dance profile community.
But the fact is that Ballet BC just came back from a European tour.They are well know around the world and many of their dancers graduated from Granville Island.
And there is another thing I must mention here. There is a choreographer; she is quiet and almost unassuming. She is Lesley Telford (a little bird has told me that Telford has gone bonkers over Argentine Tango). Below is her considerable bio:
Lesley Telford is presently based in Vancouver, Canada as a choreographer and director of Inverso Productions as well as directing the Performance Research Project (PReP) at Arts Umbrella’s Professional Dance Program.
She finished her studies in Montreal at L’École Supérieur de Danse du Québec before joining the company Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She went on to dance with Nacho Duato’s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Spain. Most recently she danced with Netherlands Dans Theater 1 where she worked with choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger, Crystal Pite and others and performed in major theatres worldwide. She has set and staged the work of Jiri Kylian as well as Lightfoot/Leon.
As a choreographer, she has created for Ballet BC, Netherlands Dans Theater 1, Hubbard Street Dance Company 2 (US), Compañia Nacional de Danza 2 (Spain), Ballet Vorpommern (Germany), International Project for Dance in Rome- DAF (Italy), Butler Ballet (US), University of Utah (US) and Arts Umbrella Dance Company. She won the Pretty Creatives choreographic competition at Northwest Dance Project in 2014. Her work has been presented in the CaDance Festival and Korzo Theatre in the Netherlands, International Festival Madrid en Danza and the Reina Sophia Museum in Spain, Chutzpah Festival, the Banff Festival of the Arts, The Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival and the Schmiede Festival. She is the founder of Inverso Productions, a platform for interdisciplinary performance, through which she produced and choreographed a full-length work: Brittle Failure which has been a part of tours and festivals in Spain, the Netherlands and Canada.
As a teacher, she has given workshops and classes internationally in many companies and schools such as Ballet BC, Spring Seminar Vancouver, Prague International Contemporary Dance Intensive, Danscentrum Gothenburg, Madrid Conservatory of Dance, NDT Summer Intensive and NDT educational projects. She teaches classes of repertoire, ballet, contemporary, movement exploration and improvisation/composition.
Interested in furthering her artistic research and exploration into the field, she has a Master of Arts in Cultural Production from the joint program of the University of Salzburg and the Mozarteum. Her thesis examined the use of the museum as a performance space for dance. She was also a fellow in a joint research project with the Zurich University of the Arts in 2013.
She was recently selected by Crystal Pite for the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award 2015 as emerging artist in dance.
Some of the performances featured Arts Umbrella Dance Company instructors. Such was the case of the performance that had my granddaughter Lauren Stewart. This was Penelope Boyse’s Full Bloom. In the pictures below the dancers wearing white are from Sunshine. The other choreographed work by Penelope Boyse, Sunshine featured the lovely girls dressed in yellow.
A special treat was the participation in the afternoon’s program of The Historical Performance Ensemble. We learned all about this dance the preceded just by a bit the rise of ballet. It was promoted by that great dancer that was Louis IV. They came with three musicians Pat Unruh, Anne Duranceau (both played violi da gamba) and Edgar Bridwell on baroque violin.
I must explain that as an obsolete, redundant & retired magazine photographer I have no assignment and no artistic intentions in taking the pictures that the Arts Umbrella Dance Company allows me to take. The photographs do not have to be sharp and I can do as I please. And this I do.